You’re a Church. So Why Aren’t You Live Streaming?

There’s a persistent myth about church live streaming that needs to be put to rest: the idea that once you go live online, your members will stop coming to the services. Nothing could be further from the truth. I don’t have statistics, I can only give you my experience with the hundreds of churches we’ve worked with around the world.

Over and over, as we help churches live stream their services, their actual Sunday attendance in the building goes up. In other words, putting your services out there online for others to see, actually draws more to the Sunday service.

There are plenty of amazing live stream stories. I was speaking at a pastor’s conference in Oklahoma this year and met one pastor who preaches to 700 people in his congregation. But his live stream is viewed by an average of 10,000 people each week.

We worked with a large church in the Southeast who actually gets as much as one third of their total income from their live stream audience. In fact, one Sunday the pastor called me excited to share that the previous Sunday, they received more donations online than the congregation gave in the offering plate! That’s unusual, but it does happen.

Think for a minute about former members of your church who have moved, but would like to stay in touch. Students who have left for college, business people in the congregation who travel. Missionaries you support. I can tell you that whenever my wife and I are on the road on a Sunday morning, she always opens up the laptop and watches the live streamed service from our church.

The bottom line is there are millions of people outside the walls of your church that need to hear your message. Certainly you won’t reach all of them with your online service, but the fact is, if you’re holding back from doing a live stream, you won’t reach anyone beyond those walls.

If you’re a pastor or church leader interested in live streaming, ask any questions in the comment box, or contact our team. We want to see your message reach as many people as possible, and a live stream is an relatively inexpensive and effective way to make that happen.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • How does that large Southeast church get their online audience to donate? We stream our annual conference to 10,000 feeds each year, and even with making an appeal and a very obvious donate button, almost none of our viewers donate to something they get for free.

    • You’d have to hire us for that Nathan. :-)
      Actually, there’s a number of strategies we use that make the viewer feel like it’s the experience of a multi-site church, which in turn makes them feel much more part of the church family.

  • Wendy

    I hope more churches live stream!

  • Norbert Haukenfrers

    What is the equipment requirements and platform, after iPhone and Facebook livestream?

    • The good thing about live streaming is there are lots of entry points and plenty of room to grow as your audience grows. You can start with the basic like an iPhone or iPad and stream direct to Facebook or you can take it up a level and purchase a device like the Terakek VidiU Pro ($999) that will allow you to use any video camera and stream direct to Facebook or YouTube. The limiting thing about using a phone is you can’t zoom properly and its basically just a locked off wide shot. When you can use a camcorder or broadcast camera the results are must better.

      The more professional route will typically involve a streaming company that provides bandwidth, encoding and archive services. Companies like http://churchstreaming.tv https://www.lightcastmedia.com http://www.lightcast.com are all great services.

      • Norbert Haukenfrers

        Thanks Phil Cooke, always impressed with your content

  • Jason Kimbrow

    What about in a mobile church? Does the quality have to be excellent? Is low quality better than nothing?

    • Tell me more about what your mobile church is like. Regarding quality, it depends, but if it’s not terrible, I’d say it’s worth it… :-)

      • Jason Kimbrow

        We setup at 6 am and have 2 services then tear it all down. Its like a conference center. 500-600 people. Several only come once a month because they live 45 min away. We get kicked out of our venue 2-3 times a year and have to adapt. Fun stuff!

        We have played around with instagram and Facebook live on iPhone.

        • Dan Wathen

          Hi Jason..those are both great ways to begin with streaming. You might check and see if the venue has high speed internet, if so you could easily add a small camera and stream directly to your website as well as Facebook. This will give you a better composed shot for viewers and solid stream. Dan Wathen – Cooke Pictures.